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John A. OrvisJune 25, 1939 ~ June 29, 2017 (age 78)
A Funeral Service for John Orvis will be held on Friday, July 7, 2017 at 2:00PM at Pine Grove Lutheran Church in Pencer, MN. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be held at Pine Grove Cemetery.
John A. Orvis, 78, passed away June 29, 2017, in Des Moines, Iowa.
He was born June 25, 1939, in Roseau, Minnesota, to Verland and Amy Orvis.
John served in the United States Navy and later received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of North Dakota. He was united in marriage to Sharon Carlson on September 30, 1961.
John grew up in Northern Minnesota and learned outdoor skills and developed a work ethic that served him throughout his life. He was an innovator in any area that he turned his attention to. He designed and raced snowmobiles and helped develop advanced methods in factory automation at John Deere.
He helped raise the eldest, Todd, and the four daughters who followed. An active man he wasn’t always home but he was involved in the lives of his family and friends. He had a saying or a story to aid in any situation. “Into every life a little rain must fall,” which was often followed by, “where the sun always shines there is desert below.” He enjoyed teaching his children and later his grandchildren especially if it was something he was passionate about. He coached them in softball, taught them to plant trees and to navigate a car in rain and snow.
John didn’t like to take chances but he often would take a calculated risk. Some of those seemed more risk than calculation to others and he had some close calls over the years. There was a frequent family dialogue regarding the strong will and advanced skills of his guardian angel.
John and Sharon retired to southern Iowa to land with woods, prairie, and water. He walked the land and found ways to use what was on it such as hickory nuts, wild blackberries and making maple syrup. John and Sharon worked together to turn a neglected area into a thriving native savannah. John was a founding member of the Southern Iowa Oak Savanna Alliance (SIOSA), an organization dedicated to the preservation and conservation of Iowa’s oak savanna and prairie ecosystem. John and Sharon were named as the tree farmers of the year in 2007 for their efforts in this area.
John’s family always expected him to live long into his golden years driving his ranger and using a chainsaw. While his passing was unexpected, his family believes that Heaven must have needed a new dedicated, skilled guardian angel.
John is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sharon; daughters, Jill Orvis, Tina (Todd) Gordinier, Sarah (Dave) Rost, and Dawn Orvis; grandchildren, Ethan, Zoey, Katie, John, Colton, Maura, and Dalton; great-grandchildren, Brody and Leviathan; siblings, Verland (Joann) Orvis Jr., Richard (Rosie) Orvis, Gary (Carol) Orvis, and Cheryl (George) Reichman; as well as other loving family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sons, Todd and Chad.